Rathkeale College has captured a prestigious National School of Character Award.
Warwick Moyle, deputy chairman of the New Zealand Foundation for Character Education and convenor of the National Schools of Character selection panel, said award recipients this year included Rathkeale College, Otago Girls' High School, Hamilton Boys' High School, Malfroy Primary School in Rotorua, and Hato Paora College near Feilding.
He said the awards were handed out every four years and recognised schools and colleges "that were able to demonstrate outstanding character education initiatives that had yielded positive results for student behaviour, citizenship, school culture and academic achievement".
"Character education in our schools has nothing but positive outcomes. It shapes student behaviour in a way that benefits individuals, others and the community," he said.
Rathkeale College is a state-integrated Anglican boys' school, which is part of the Trinity Schools including Hadlow School and St Matthew's Collegiate School in Masterton. The college was founded in 1964 and caters for both day students and boarders from Years 9 to 13.
Award winners would be presented with an engraved plaque and $1000 at special assemblies at each school during this week's Character Counts! Week.
The week was an "international celebration of character and the importance of building character in the young".
Mr Moyle said the award-winning schools and colleges represented a range of school types, sizes, locations and decile classifications and "showed that these factors are irrelevant to effective character education".
"It is also significant that an increasing number of schools are recognising the importance of character in determining behaviour and achievement."
The New Zealand National Schools of Character Awards were funded and administered by the non-profit New Zealand Foundation for Character Education organisation, that operates without religious, political or commercial affiliations. The organisation was founded in 1993 to promote character education in schools and colleges.
Mr Moyle said the approach to character education at Rathkeale College was based on four principles known at the school as pillars - being at ease with yourself, a willingness to step forward, awareness of those around you, and knowing you stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before.
Rathkeale College this year celebrated its jubilee at a weekend of festivities in March at the school, where hundreds of former pupils, teachers and supporters gathered from across the country and beyond.
Rathkeale College principal Willy Kersten earlier said a jubilee quadrangle at the school had been central to the celebratory weekend and included the legend-bearing pillars, and several walls of tiles etched with the names of the 4448 boys who had enrolled at the school since its foundation.
The 4m tall pillars represented the aspirations and ambitions of the school and its community and supporters, he said, and were fashioned from pine trees grown at Tinui and surrounded at the base by river boulders taken from the nearby Ruamahanga River.
Deputy principal Grant Harper said an etched plaque was mounted on each pillar epitomising "a good Rathkeale man", who upholds the four guiding principles of the school.